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City Commission selects Urban League to address violence in GR

The Urban League uses a Cure Violence model that strengthens community relationships and encourages nonviolence.
Credit: 13 ON YOUR SIDE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids City Commission unanimously voted Tuesday evening to partner with the Grand Rapids Urban League to approach violence in the city. The group will use a "Cure Violence" model and work with Cure Violence Global to implement it in Grand Rapids.

According to city officials, Cure Violence sends trained teams of "violence interrupters" to preempt violence and shootings. Teams will focus on areas and groups that may be at a high risk of violence.

“The Urban League has strong community ties, a demonstrated presence within the City’s neighborhoods and commitment to utilize individuals that influence those at highest risk of committing shootings or perpetuating other violent acts by building trusting relationships through their own lived experiences,” said Brandon Davis, director of oversight and accountability.

Along with fostering a positive relationship with the community and those at risk, the Urban League will distribute information to the public to help change behavioral norms. The group also hopes to encourage nonviolence when solving conflicts.

“We take a holistic approach to public safety, the restoration of trust between communities and law enforcement, and a path forward for meaningful change," said Brenda Moore, interim president and chief operating officer at the Urban League. "The ongoing and intertwined health, economic and racial justice crises bring new urgency to our work to improve access to quality jobs, options to participate in business ownership and the freedom to pursue educational and economic opportunities.”

“I have long appreciated and supported the work of the Urban League,” said GRPD Chief Eric Payne. “I am optimistic that with their history of positive community engagement and their trusted network of local partnerships, implementing the Cure Violence model will reduce crime and continue to strengthen trust between the community and its police department.”

The partnership is under an initial one-year $125,000 agreement. The expense will be covered by a Spectrum Health investment.

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